Working with woodland managers to restore neglected woodland, creating a more sustainable, ecologically and visually diverse landscape.
Coppiced over many centuries, the extensive woodlands of the Rusland Valley and fells once supported hundreds of jobs and fuelled a large part of the local economy. The coppices were a haven for many threatened plant, butterfly, moth, bird and small mammal species. Much of this woodland has been under-managed and important habitats lost.
The Coupes and Cords project has worked with apprentices, woodland owners, volunteers and contractors to carry out a variety of woodland management activities. Focusing predominantly on coppicing, but also thinning, boundary work, deer management and enrichment planting.
The project has introduced the benefits of coppicing to the Rusland Valley community. Providing opportunities to learn new skills and be actively involved in putting back some of their woodlands into management, ensuring they are in a better condition for future generations.
- With 47 landowners involved in the project, a longer-term understanding of the land, maintenance requirements and a commitment to look after it has been established.
- Six woodlands have been brought into planned management, all of which now have management plans, helping to safeguard their future.
- Apprentices have substantially increased their skills; learning about coppicing, woodland management and traditional work such as dry-stone walling.
- Volunteers from the local community have learnt about Rusland Valley’s heritage and been taught traditional, practical, hands-on skills they can use in the future.
- Over 7000 trees have been planted, improving forest age structure and helping the woodlands be more resilient.
- Revitalised coppice growth will provide opportunities for future coppice workers to produce woodfuel, or products for crafts, to help sustain their livelihoods.